Curve Split Two, Owens Wins #11, Cain Wins #1

Lots of action for the Pirates’ minor league affiliates on Thursday….

Richmond Flying Squirrels� 9,� Altoona Curve� 6�� (Game 1)..� (box)

This was the wrap-up of a suspended game from… awhile back.� 2B Jordy Mercer had 3 hits in the game with an RBI, and LF Jim Negrych had a single, a double, and an RBI for the Curve.� The Curve scored first, with 3 runs in the bottom of hte 1st, on a double by 3B Shelby Ford, an RBI single by Mercer, walks to both C Kris Watts and LF Brandon Jones (back when he was still on the team), and a 2-RBI single by RF Miles Durham.

Richmond came back to tie the score with 3 runs in the top of the 2nd, on four singles and a throwing error by 1B Matt Hague. Then they took the lead with another 3 runs in the top of the 3rd, on a walk and three doubles.� Starter Tim Alderson was responsible for 6 runs (5 earned) on 7 hits and a walk over 3 innings.� Dustin Molleken took over for Alderson, and retired the side in the top of the 4th inning.� The Curve began the bottom of the inning with a walk to Durham, a single by CF Anthony Norman, and a sacrifice bunt by Molleken, to put both runners into scoring position.� That was when play was halted.� When the game resumed, SS Chase d’Arnaud singled, scoring Durham.� PH/3B Josh Harrison grounded to short, which let Norman score also.� Mercer singled again, but was left on base.� The Curve had closed the gap, 6-5

Derek Hankins took over for Molleken after the restart.� He pitched 5 innings, scattering two hits and a walk over the first four of those innings.� The Curve also put runners on base in the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings, but did not score.

In the top of the 9th, Hankins gave up a single and an RBI double, then three more singles, increasing Richmond’s lead to 9-5.� The Curve got one of the runs back in the bottom of the 9th, when Hague walked, and moved to third on a fielding error that also put Watts on base.� Jim Negrych singled into left field, bringing in Hague from third.� Watts also tried to score, coming from second base, but he was out at the plate on the throw in from left field, ending the game.

Curve� 5,� Flying Squirrels� 1�� (Game 2)..� (box)

The Curve turned the tables in the second game, which was scheduled for only 7 innings.� Rudy Owens buzzed through 6 scoreless innings, allowing only 2 hits and one walk, while striking out 5 batters.� He surrendered a single in the 2nd and a double in the 4th, then a walk in the 6th.� It was Owens’ 11th win of the season.� Daniel Moskos wrapped things up in the 7th inning.� He loaded the bases with two walks and a single.� A grounder force out brought in Richmond’s only run, but then Moskos ended the game with a strikeout.

2B Jordy Mercer’s bat was still hot, as he collected another 2 hits.� He and LF Jim Negrych both singled in the 4th, then C Hector Gimenez reached on a throwing error, which brought in Negrych with the first run of the game.� A walk to 3B Josh Harrison and singles by 1B Matt Hague and Mercer scored Harrison with another run in the 5th.� SS Chase d’Arnaud added three more runs with a 3-run homer in the 6th, also plating CF Anthony Norman, who had walked, and pinch-hitter Andrew Lambo, who had singled.

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Light Hitting Night For Affiliates, Morris Pitches 5 Shutout Innings

Looking in on the Pirates’ minor league affiliates on Tuesday… the State College Spikes have a scheduled day off.

Hagerstown Suns� 5,� West Virginia Power� 4 (box)

A single, a double, and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th gave the Suns the extra-inning win over the Power this afternoon.� The Power were held to 6 hits and scored all 4 of their runs in one inning, the 5th.� 3B Jesus Brito led off the inning with a single, and CF Evan Chambers was hit by a pitch.� Both scored on DH Jose Hernandez’s line drive double into center field.� 1B Aaron Baker brought in Hernandez with his 16th home run of the season, and the Power had their 4 runs.

Baker was the only Power batter who had more than one run in the game.� Besides the home run, he also singled in the 4th, but was forced out at second base.� SS Benji Gonzalez singled to lead off the 3rd inning, but was left on base. LF Rogelios Noris doubled to lead off the 6th.� Both RF David Rubinstein and� Noris were hit by pitches (back-to-back) in the 2nd inning.� Both C Ramon Cabrera and Chambers reached base two throwing errors in the 9th.� All four of them were left on base.

Jason Erickson pitched into the 7th inning for the Power, but he did not figure into the decision.� He gave up a run in the 3rd inning on a double, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single.� LF Noris prevented another run from scoring on a single, when he made a perfect throw in from left field to the plate, with Cabrera making the tag at the plate. Erickson gave up lone singles in the 4th and 5th, then gave up a solo home run in the 6th inning.

The Suns tied the score in the 7th inning.� With two outs, Erickson gave up a bunt single, a stolen base, and a walk.� Justin Ennis relieved Erickson, but the first batter he faced doubled into left field, scoring both base runners, to tie the game at 4-4.� Ennis gave up a single and a walk in the 8th, but did not let either runner score.� Zach Foster took over for the 9th, and retired the side in order then, but he suffered the loss when he gave up the run in the 10th.� The Power had two base runners on in the 8th (two errors) but they did not score either.

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Bixler Returns; Krol Saves #21

IMG_3495The Pittsburgh Pirates have reaquired infielder Brian Bixler (photo) from the Cleveland Indians’ organization.� Bixler, who was originally drafted by the Pirates in the second round of the 2004 draft, played in the Pirates’ organization for all of his career until he was traded to Cleveland in January 2010 for infielder Jesus Brito. Bixler did not make the Cleveland major league team out of spring training, and he was removed from their 40-man roster.� He has been playing for AAA Columbus, and has appeared in several games against the Indy Indians.� For the Clippers, the 27-year-old Ohio native has been hitting .278 with 13 doubles, one triple, 3 homers, and 27 RBI.� That’s about the same average but with a little less power than he showed with the Indy Indians in 2009.� Bixler has not been able to take his AAA level success up to the major league level.� In a total of 68 games with the Pirates, Bixler hit .178 with 7 doubles, one triple, and 5 RBI, and struck out 62 times.� Bixler will join the Indy Indians after the All-Star break.

The Indy Indians are off for their All-Star break.� The AAA All-Star game will be played on Wednesday in Lehigh Valley.� The game will not be on ESPN2 as in past years, but will be televised on the MLB network.� It will also be on-line on milb.com.�� More Monday action in the Pirates’ minor league organization:

Richmond Flying Squirrels� 6,� Altoona Curve� 3….. suspended (box)

They got into the 4th inning before rain halted play in Altoona this afternoon.� The Curve got busy in the bottom of the 1st, with a double by 3B Shelby Ford, and an RBI single by 2B Jordy Mercer. Mercer stole second, then went to third on walks to C Kris Watts and LF Brandon Jones. RF Miles Durham drove in both Mercer and Watts with a line drive single into left field.� Durham also stole second, but was left there when the inning ended.

Starter Tim Alderson retired the side in the top of the 1st, but struggled after that.� The Squirrels came right back in the top of the 2nd to tie the score.� The inning began with three consecutive singles, which brought in one run.� A throwing error by 1B Matt Hague loaded the bases, and another single drove in two more runs.� A sacrifice bunt moved two runners into scoring position — and provided the first out of the inning.� A hit batter loaded the bases again, but an infield fly rule pop out and a grounder force out ended the inning.� The second inning did not go any better.� A double, a walk, and a double opened the inning, bringing in 2 runs.� After two ground outs, another double drove in the Squirrels’ 6th run.� Alderson was relieved by Dustin Molleken to begin the top of the 4th, and Molleken retired the side in order.

The Curve went down in order in the 2nd.� Mercer and Watts both singled in the 3rd, though neither scored.� The bottom of the 4th began with a walk to Durham and a single by CF Anthony Norman, moving Durham to third.� Molleken’s sacrifice bunt moved Norman to second base, and that’s how things stood when play was halted.� The game will be resumed on August 26th.

After the game, Alderson was reassigned to A+ Bradenton.� He had made 17 starts for the Curve, and in 86.2 innings, Alderson had allowed 105 hits and 54 earned runs (5.30 ERA).� He had 26 walks and 57 strikeouts, and batters hit .307 against him. His record:� 7-5.

Jeff Locke is being promoted from Bradenton to Altoona — a pitcher swap.� Locke has a 9-3 record with the Marauders.� He also has 17 starts, for 86.1 innings, allowing 82 hits and 42 earned runs (3.54 ERA).� Locke has walked 14 and struck out 83, and batters hit .248 against him.

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Loss For Owens, Win for McSwain

The State College Spikes have a scheduled day off today, and the GCL Pirates were washed out again.

Binghamton Mets �9, �Altoona Curve �6 (box)

Three runs in the top of the 10th broke a 6-6 tie and gave the Mets the extra-inning win. �Ramon Aguero took the mound for the Curve to begin the inning, and he began by giving up a single. �The next batter dropped down a bunt, but C Kris Watts grabbed it fast enough to make the force out at second base, leaving a runner on first. �Aguero walked the next batter, then gave up a double that brought in both runners. �Moments later, another double drove in the third run of the inning.

Watts led off the bottom of the 10th with a double, and SS Chase d’Arnaud walked, but two ground outs ended the inning before either of them could score, and the Mets had the win.

Curve starter Rudy Owens could not get through the 5th inning tonight, as he gave up 5 runs on 13 hits, though he also struck out 6 batters. �The Mets got going right away in the top of the 1st, on two doubles and three singles, scoring 3 runs off Owens. �A double play got Owens out of a jam in the 2nd inning, after he’d given up another double and single pair. �Back-to-back doubles brought in a run for the Mets in the 3rd inning. �Owens did retire the side in order in the 4th, but got right back into trouble in the 5th. �A lead-off home run, followed by a strikeout and 3 consecutive singles to load the bases, and that was all for Owens. �Dustin Molleken came on in relief and left the bases loaded when he struck out the next two batters to end the inning.

The Curve began their comeback in the bottom of the inning. �They had put at least one runner on base in each of the first 4 innings, but could not get any of them around to score. �With one out in the bottom of the 5th, CF Gorkys Hernandez and 3B Josh Harrison hit back-to-back singles, with Hernandez going to third on Harrison’s hit. �1B Hector Gimenez’s sacrifice fly brought in Hernandez. �Three consecutive singles by 2B Jordy Mercer, LF Brandon Jones, and RF Miles Durham brought in two more runs, and the Curve had come within 2 runs of the Mets.

Dustin Molleken reached base on a throwing error to begin the 6th inning. �He moved to second base on Chase d’Arnaud’s single and then to third on Hernandez’s ground out. �Josh Harrison’s sacrifice fly brought Molleken in to score, and the Curve crept closer. �They took the lead in the bottom of the 8th. �Kris Watts led off with a single, and he was bunted to second by LF Anthony Norman, who entered the game in a double-switch. �D’Arnaud walked, and a ground out by Hernandez moved both runners into scoring position. �Harrison obliged with a single lined into center field, scoring both Watts and d’Arnaud, to give the Curve a 6-5 lead.

Binghamton tied the score again in the top of the 9th, on back-to-back doubles off reliever Diego Moreno. That took the game into extra innings, when the Mets got the win.

The two teams combined for 33 hits in the game — 19 for the Mets and 14 for the Curve. �Gorkys Hernandez, Josh Harrison, and Kris Watts had 3 hits each.

Curve starter Bryan Morris has been selected to play in the Futures’ Game on the US team. �He will be facing teammate Gorkys Hernandez, who will be on the World team. �Bradenton’s Tony Sanchez was also named to the US team, but will have to miss the game due to his fractured jaw.

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Krol’s 19th Save; Fienemann’s 2nd Win

IMG_3884The GCL Pirates were off, as usual for a Sunday. �In other holiday action….

Bradenton Marauders �5, �Palm Beach Cardinals �3 (box)

The Marauders jumped out to an early lead with 3 runs in the bottom of the 2nd inning. �1B Calvin Anderson began the inning with a single up the middle, and 3B Adam Davis walked. �Both were advanced with a sacrifice bunt by RF Austin McClune. C James Skelton brought them both in with a 2-RBI double, and another double by SS Greg Picart brought in Skelton.

Three straight singles by McClune, Skelton, and DH Erik Huber gave the Marauders another run in the 4th inning.

The Cardinals scored an unearned run off starter Jeff Locke in the 2nd inning. �A fielding error by 3B Davis put a runner on base, and a double combined with an interference error by SS Picart allowed the run to score. �A single, a walk, and an RBI single added an earned run in the 4th. �Locke pitched a total of 6 innings, allowing those runs on 5 hits and a walk, while striking out 6 batters.

Bradenton scored their final run in the 8th. �With two outs, Anderson doubled, and Davis walked. �McClune singled into right field, and Anderson raced around from second base to score. �Davis tried to score from first base, but was out at the plate on a good throw in from right field.

Mike Colla pitched 2 innings in relief, and allowed another unearned run in the 7th. �With two outs and a runner on first, a throwing error by Colla on a pick-off attempt put the runner on second, and another throwing error by Davis on the next play allowed the runner to score. �Noah Krol pitched a perfect 9th inning to earn his league-leading 19th save (Florida State League).

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